(Los Angeles) Republicans in Montana banned a transgender Democrat from sitting in the northern US state on Wednesday over her vehement opposition to a law that makes transitional care inaccessible to minors.
Already banned from speaking for almost a week, Zooey Zephyr is now suspended until the end of the parliamentary session, according to a disciplinary measure approved by the Republican majority.
Montana’s only transgender parliamentarian will simply be able to vote remotely. Local Republicans accuse him of remarks deemed not to respect protocol.
Last week, Ms Zephyr said her colleagues should “be ashamed” of passing a law banning transgender minors from being given hormone treatments to help them transition.
“The next time […] that you bow your head to pray, I hope you will see the blood on your hands”, had launched the elected address of the Republicans who adopted this text.
Ms. Zephyr denounced her exclusion on Wednesday as an attack on democracy and an affront to the LGBT community.
“When I stood up to say there’s blood on your hands, I wasn’t hyperbole,” she insisted in a speech before the vote, saying many transgender people commit suicide because of laws aimed at them.
She again refused to apologize, which the Republican speaker of the local parliament is demanding to reinstate her.
“If you use decorum to silence people who hold you accountable, you are only using decorum as a tool of oppression,” she argued.
The conflict, which sparked a demonstration in which seven people were arrested on Monday, is the latest example of the cultural battle between the two major American parties over the delicate issue of transgender people.
It comes just weeks after the controversial exclusion of two elected African-American Democrats from the Tennessee legislature in early April for protesting gun violence. An episode which had pushed President Joe Biden to step up to obtain their reinstatement.
The association reacted to the suspension of Ms. Zephyr on Wednesday, denouncing a decision that is “authoritarianism”.
More than 56% of transgender youth have had suicidal thoughts in their lifetime and 31% have attempted suicide at least once, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Available studies on the subject show that these young people feel better when they have access to puberty blockers or hormonal treatments.
But many Republicans denounce the irreversible effects of some of these treatments and want to ban them.